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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Natural Farming in a Mediterranean climate

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  • BT Benjaminson
    Dieter, shalom from the mountains of Israel. We have a climate and perhaps also terrain that is almost exactly like yours. I am a trained permaculturist but
    Message 1 of 25 , Nov 17, 2005
      Dieter, shalom from the mountains of Israel. We have a climate and perhaps
      also terrain that is almost exactly like yours.
      I am a trained permaculturist but not very well versed in natural farming,
      nor can i implement it fully even if i wanted to because mixing plant
      species close together in one growing area is against Jewish law.
      i have found that it is really impossible to grow anything edible (except
      tree/vine crops, and a few herbs) here in the summer without irrigation.
      I think Mr. Fukuoka was against irrigation. (can anyone tell me if he
      was?)--if so, how did he propose people in mediterranean climates should
      grow in the summer?
      So far I've also found that there is also no alternative to bringing a lot
      of organic matter to lay on the ground for the summer. Some neighbors of
      mine sometimes attempt to make a mulch of stones, but I rarely see that with
      vegetables, just trees.
      If I had more time and money I would try to set up a dew-harvesting system
      to harvest the water from the humid night air and direct it onto the mulch
      in order to avoid irrigating with piped in water.
      For larger areas of sloping land the time-honored approach here is to
      terrace the land (at enormous time and labor costs, but people have been
      doing it for millenia, so much of the worthwhile land is already
      terraced--but when I myself build terraces (I'm female and almost 50 years
      old, I can do only a few stones at a time)), then plant trees or vines on
      the terraces, and let herds of goats/sheep graze the weeds and grass that
      grows between the trees or vines in the springtime, thus harvesting
      something else useful from the land via meat and milk. A high stone terrace
      provides some amount of protection against fire.
      We also have problems with ants taking seeds laid on the ground. It's far
      safer to sow and cover seeds. If you want to encourage ants to go elsewhere
      you can take a shovelful of ants from one ant colony, a shovelful from
      another ant colony, then trade shovelsful and the ants will take care of the
      rest. I never did this because I am a little fond of the ants and their
      enormous abilities.
      I am using animals (ducks, chickens, a pony) to help digest the organic
      matter that I bring onto the land here. My neighbors and I have concluded
      that animal help is pretty essential for making a sustainable system on this
      land. Perhaps donkeys, sheep, and goats are actually better but I chose
      these because they are more appealing to children and my purpose here is (in
      part) to educate children to love the land.
      If you wish to make a dialog with me off list, i'm also interested, but i
      can't really tell you from the perspective of fukuoka exactly, just my own
      experience.
      I would also like to know about your cutter/shredder because I've thought I
      would need such a thing to tackle larger areas of land.
      Bat-Tzion Benjaminson


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Dieter Brand" <diebrand@...>
      To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:01 PM
      Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Natural Farming in a Mediterranean climate


      > Hi,
      > I'm in the process of clearing an overgrown piece of land in the Alentejo
      > region in the South of Portugal. I have been using composting, mulching,
      > green manure under-sowing etc. for a number of years to grow vegetables
      > on the lower reaches of the property while leaving the surrounding hill
      > sides largely untouched. However, the devastating wild fires in recent
      > years have convinced me of the importance of clearing more land of the
      > thicket and undergrowth.
      > While composting is OK for the vegetable garden it is hardly feasible for
      > cultivating several hectares of land. Also, the sloping terrain makes
      > digging
      > and ploughing a definite no, no! I discovered a little device that
      > permits
      > me to cut and shred the scrubs at the same time; however, even shredded
      > the woody parts will take years to disintegrate into the soil, and thus
      > pose
      > an, albeit reduced, fire hazard. My idea was to sow clover and other
      > seeds
      > into the mulch layer of shredded scrubs to accelerate the building of top
      > soil. Unfortunately, none of these germinated since we have just come
      > through
      > the severest drought in 60 years with hardly any rain at all during the
      > whole
      > year. When the rain finally came last October I rushed out with bags full
      > of clover and lupine seeds as well wheat, barley, oats, etc. Some of it
      > already started to germinate when after 3 days the sun came out and with
      > it the ants, which collected well over half of the almost 50 kg of seeds
      > I
      > had sown.
      > Next, I started making seed balls by the various methods described by
      > Fukuoka (tray, mesh). I put it down to my inexperience, but I found this
      > to be a rather messy and cumbersome affair. Also, none of the seed balls
      > show any sign of wanting to germinate yet, there is probably still not
      > enough
      > humidity. Before investing in any more equipment (drums etc.) I want to
      > be sure that the thing can actually be made to work.
      > I'm still eager to give natural farming a try, but I would like to hear
      > from
      > everybody who can share his/her experience of similar climatic
      > conditions.
      > The climat in the South of Portugal is considered to be Mediterranean,
      > but there is definitely a lot less humidity during the summer than for
      > example
      > in the South of France or in Italy. In a normal year, we get enough rain
      > for growing crops without irrigation from October to May. The winters
      > are mild with only occasional light frost at night, especially in the
      > lower
      > reaches. During the June to September period we usually don't get a
      > single drop of rain; during this period the sun, with temperature of up
      > to
      > 40 degrees C, will back the heavy clay soil to the consistency of
      > concrete
      > right down to the solid rock.
      > Apart from the seed ball problem I have so many questions that I don't
      > want to abuse your patients in this post. Most of it is related to the
      > question of what to sow and when, how to improve the humidity-retention
      > properties of the soil, and the dilemma of how to reduce the fire hazard
      > during the summer while leaving tons of dry organic matter laying around
      > to keep the soil nice and covered. People around here use enormous big
      > bulldozers to rip up the ground every year in order to put a few
      > hundred meters of bare earth between themselves and any combustible
      > material.
      > Regards, Dieter
      >
      >
      >
      > ---------------------------------
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      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • diebrand
      Many thanks to Gloria, Elsa, Jean-Claude, Bat-Tzion and Larry for replying to my query. Here are my comments: ... the dense chapparal shrubbery … Same here.
      Message 2 of 25 , Nov 17, 2005
        Many thanks to Gloria, Elsa, Jean-Claude, Bat-Tzion and Larry for
        replying to my query. Here are my comments:

        Larry wrote:
        > … goats are used in some parts of southern California to reduce
        the dense chapparal
        shrubbery …

        Same here. I`m still hesitating about getting animals, we are not
        great meet eaters. There are also thousands of young trees which it
        would be difficult to protect from the goats. This is traditional
        cork oak/medronho country, and overgrazing by goats under previous
        owners has wiped out a few generations of oak trees, with the result
        that we now only have very old trees which are about to die, and
        young trees which have grown since we bought the place.

        > … shredded groundcover does not present a significant fire hazard.
        Yes, it can
        burn, but it would be, at most, an easily controllable creeping
        ground fire.
        Such fires rarely, if ever, are of serious concern to the wildland …

        That is what I'm hoping for too, but with wild fires you just never
        know. It always depends on were it comes from and at what speed.
        We are completely surrounded by enormous Eucalyptus plantations
        which provide a lot of combustible material.

        > … check out some of the articles I've written/posted in
        the Wildland Fire section of my website - http://larryhaftl.com/

        Will do.

        Bat-Tzion wrote:
        > I think Mr. Fukuoka was against irrigation. (can anyone tell me if
        he was?)--if so, how did he propose people in mediterranean climates
        should grow in the summer?

        My question exactly!

        > If I had more time and money I would try to set up a dew-
        harvesting system to harvest the water from the humid night air and
        direct it onto the mulch in order to avoid irrigating with piped in
        water.

        How does that work and how much water can one expect to get this
        way? This is a new idea to me, do you know were I can get the
        details of such a system? The night air here too is very humid.

        > If you want to encourage ants to go elsewhere you can take a
        shovelful of ants from one ant colony, a shovelful from another ant
        colony, then trade shovelsful and the ants will take care of the
        rest.

        That's an interesting idea, I wonder if it works.

        > If you wish to make a dialog with me off list, i'm also
        interested, but I can't really tell you from the perspective of
        fukuoka exactly, just my own experience.

        Experience is what counts. I will send you my email address.

        > I would also like to know about your cutter/shredder because I've
        thought I would need such a thing to tackle larger areas of land.

        This is a disk of about 40 to 50 cm with two bent blades attached to
        it by bolts and nuts so that the blades can rotate and recoil when
        you hit a stone. The disk is mounted to a brushcutter instead of
        the normal trimmer with the 3 fixed blades. The bent blades enable
        you to shred rather than just cut once. You can see a picture of it
        under the title of `Hackscheibe mit gebogenen Messern' at the site
        http://www.dolmar.ch/sensenzubehoer/SENSENZUBEHOER_2.HTML

        When I cut shrubs of about 2 meter heights at their base with the
        normal trimmer with fixed blades they will lay on the ground to a
        height of about 1.50 m and take 5 to 10 years to disintegrate. With
        the disk and the bent blades I can cut the shrubs into small peaces
        forming a layer of less than 10 cm. The smaller peaces will also
        disintegrate sooner than the shrub as a whole. The disk works best
        with fine and very dense shrubs. The thicker the branches the
        tougher it gets.

        Gloria wrote:

        > I am wondering if you might not instead garden/farm under the
        driplines of trees. In this way you will not have such intense
        sun/heat on your plants resulting in less evaporation of any water
        that is available.

        My `summer garden' is down by the river in the shade of big alder
        trees and some fruit trees I planted. With all the other measures
        (improving soil structure, mulching, cover crops etc.) I use a lot
        less water than my neighbours, but the available water resources
        still don't allow me to irrigate much more than 2,000 square meters
        or so.

        >Over time I have found less reason to water. I know it sounds
        strange, but my gardens by the trees still flourish.

        Well, I wonder how you do it.

        > digging some swales there might also help so the ground water
        builds up in the season that it does rain. I know it has helped me
        here in the Texas drought

        I imagine I would have to dig a lot of swales for this to have any
        effect.

        Elsa wrote:
        > Whereabouts in the Alentejo are you? …

        A remote location near Relva Grande, about 10 km inland from Sao
        Teotonio between Odemira and Odeceixe.

        > solutions for their problems seem to slowly be working to. So, I'd
        be glad to share some ideas...

        How about meeting? I will send you my details to your Yahoo
        account. Don't use mine, I haven't managed to activate it yet.

        Jean-Claude wrote:

        > if your only reason to intervene is to prevent fire it doesn't
        makes sense
        to destroy the vegetal cover to prevent a possible fire …

        It is the dry vegetation that provides the combustible materials
        during wild fires in the summer. Most of the abandoned properties
        in this region are covered by an impenetrable mass of shrubs of up
        to three meters tall. A single spark of one stone hitting another
        can ignite this to produce an intense fire with flames shooting10 or
        20 meters into the air. Last year about 10 % of the national
        territory went up in flames. During days, the smoke was everywhere
        and so dense that it wasn't even possible to see where it came
        from. We had difficulty breathing.

        >what this aera of the globe need the most , in front of the
        extention of the
        sahara desert , is increased biomass ,the bushes allready prepar the
        ground
        for trees to come

        This is theory. Things are different here. Part of our land is
        covered with a thick growth of medronho (arbusto unedo??). The
        bushes form a thick cover of foliage more than 6 meters above the
        ground. The ancient oak trees in-between have about reached the end
        of their live span and start to fall down. New trees which would
        normally have grown from the oaks have not been able to grow since
        no sun light reaches the ground. If I want to save the oak forest I
        will have to cut the medronho, which will grow again faster than I
        can cut it down.

        Theories about advancing deserts have no relevance around here. The
        wet season normally provides for so much growth that the only
        problem is what you do with all that biomass. To let it go up in
        flames during the summer is certainly not going to improve our
        climate.

        Jean-Claude, the general drift of your comments seems to be against
        intervention in nature. This may be fine for other place, it isn't
        here. This land needs the hand of the labourer. Traditionally, the
        region was populated by a large number of small farmsteads operating
        just a little above the level of subsistence farming. Agriculture,
        goats and other domestic animals kept the land clear and in good
        condition so that droughts and wild fires, which have occurred since
        time immemorial, had no great impact. Economic and political
        factors are driving these people into the city. And those who want
        to live here are now hampered by laws and regulations thought up by
        nature conservationists, city dwellers in the North of Europe, whose
        romantic view of nature would like to create a picture book
        landscape without any people in it. The result has been
        disastrous. If you followed the news during the summer you may have
        noticed that it was in particular the natural parks that went up in
        flames.

        PS: Fire prevention is of course not my only concern. The reason I
        posted my message to this group was to get some input about what to
        grow once I have cleared the thicket. At present I'm thinking about
        green manure: clover, lupines, etc. and grains like wheat, barley
        etc. But I still lack information about the conditions required by
        the various crops (is there a comprehensive list available on the
        Internet?). Ideally I would like to grow rice and soja (Fukuoka
        mentioned something about growing rice without water, but I suppose
        this means less water and not no water at all). I also like to use
        native plants that will grow locally without irrigation or
        cultivation. However, I still haven't been able to get much
        information on native plants. Most documents on gardening and
        agriculture seem to be for the North of Europe or for the US.

        Regards, Dieter
      • BT Benjaminson
        Berin The Jewish law of kelayim, or not mixing two species in one field, is one of a number of laws that have no rational basis, and we are asked to obey
        Message 3 of 25 , Nov 17, 2005
          Berin
          The Jewish law of "kelayim," or not mixing two species in one field, is one
          of a number of laws that have no rational basis, and we are asked to obey
          them without understanding them.
          The other two similar laws that I (as a fairly uneducated lay person) know
          is not to mix linen and wool in one garment and not to mix two species (i.e.
          ox and horse) to pull a single vehicle.
          That said, our local rabbi, Rav Daniel Kohn, gave a lecture on the issue of
          kelayim at my place--the Judean Permaculture Center--and he said that one
          aspect of the law of kelayim is that from this law we can learn to respect
          the totally unique and individual nature of each species of plant, and to
          give it its own space and boundaries within which it can be totally itself.
          (I hope I am quoting him accurately).
          As a permaculturist I am experimenting with crop rotation instead of mixing.
          Also, species planted for their scent or beauty, and woody-stemmed species
          are not subject to this law, so there is ample leeway for suitable companion
          planting.
          hope this explains it at least a little.
          Bat-Tzion

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Berin Erturk" <berinerturk@...>
          To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 4:49 AM
          Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Natural Farming in a Mediterranean climate


          > Yes please tell us why "mixing plant species" is forbidden. And please
          > keep the conversation going in the group. We all learn something from
          > others experiences. ( BTW I don't think Fukuoka says anything about
          > irrigation. He just claimed -and proved- that you don't have to keep the
          > field flooded to grow rice.Further he does water the rice, but only during
          > a short period.)
          > I am in a very humid area and the only fire danger here is neighbors
          > doing some "cleaning" by burning bushes! But for my farmer friends at
          > Aegean or Mediterranien Coast forest fires are a real problem.
          > Berin Erturk
          > Jade Farm
          > Turkey
          >
          >
          >
          > Forest Shomer <ziraat@...> wrote:
          > >
          >> Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 12:06:56 +0200
          >> From: BT Benjaminson <btbenj@...>
          >>Subject: Re: Natural Farming in a Mediterranean climate
          >>
          >>I am a trained permaculturist but not very well versed in natural farming,
          >>nor can i implement it fully even if i wanted to because mixing plant
          >>species close together in one growing area is against Jewish law.
          >
          > Shalom Bat-Tzion,
          >
          > Incredible! Not mix plant species? What I don't quite understand in
          > your message is: Jewish law as in an ancient Midrash; or Israeli law,
          > contemporary?
          >
          > I'm guessing it is the latter--could you discuss? Is this
          > government-imposed monoculture, and why?
          >
          > Blessings,
          >
          > Forest
          > --
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        • Paola Lucchesi
          Dieter, perhaps you could try to contact Richard Wade, who has a permaculture centre in Spain. wade@coac.net He s often in Italy, though, he s mentoring most
          Message 4 of 25 , Nov 17, 2005
            Dieter, perhaps you could try to contact Richard Wade, who has a
            permaculture centre in Spain.

            wade@...

            He's often in Italy, though, he's mentoring most of our Italian
            permaculturalists and teaching courses there, so insist if he doesn't answer
            at once. I might have his cellphone number too, somewhere, or I can ask
            common friends. There are also some web pages for their place (Permacultura
            Montsant) at http://www.permacultura-montsant.org/

            Richard and Ines should be able to give you specific advice on arid climates
            situations.

            And I've just remembered that Fortunato and Anna, who are among Emilia
            Hazelip's disciples, have worked in several projects in Spain. You can reach
            them at the address:

            kanbio@...


            I know what you mean about the difference between theory and practice, I am
            not getting very far with my tomato blight enquiries ;-) Also, specific
            local conditions are veeeery important. Originally, I am from a
            water-problematic region, not only for its Mediterrenean climate but also
            because of the carsic structure of the soil and underground, so I was
            sensitive to the water-conservation, e.g. keeping the soil moist, part of
            the story. But it backfired having moved to a very humid place. We are
            blessed by abundance of water here, a major river, plenty of streams and
            sources, frequent rains, overnight humudity... And a completely opposite set
            of problems: fungal disease above all. So I did mistakes like planting
            tomatoes too close, and found out too late that I didn't need to worry about
            dry soil, rather about infection spreading. I'm currently researching the
            question of spores surviving the winter and I'm desperate about all the
            biomass laying around (falling leaves), which is infected by all sorts of
            fungi and moulds. Some I can identify, of others I'm not sure, and I doubt I
            can be good enough at making very hot compost to be sure I get rid of the
            risks of carrying the disease into the next season (I'm a beginner anyway).

            Now, very probably something is out of balance here, in the sense that there
            should not be so much of this type of disease. I observe the difference
            between the wild and the "domesticated" plants, the wild being usually
            healthy close to the infected domesticated. But now, the wild plants have
            taken it up too, and this is quite worrying. I mentioned the broadleaf dock
            and dandelion, but even some stinging nettle has been involved! It's sort of
            scary. To say nothing of all the trees around. There are some beautiful
            apples and peer trees around the garden here (planted by my landlords years
            ago), and they are all sick, and scattering around masses of sick leaves.
            Hmmm, even if I wanted to do something about it, there's no question of
            spraying any helping preparations (we have planty of horsetail around, which
            could help) on those giants, too tall, too many branches... And we are in a
            context of small houses with gardens, all around, so spores can easily
            travel from one patch to the other, it's really a community issue.

            Phytophthora is the potato blight, originally, the one which caused the
            Irish famine. And potato, like tomato, is NOT original from Europe. So I
            guess the true root of the problem is that we are dealing with imported
            species which were never really meant for this climate, nor is the
            environment here "programmed" to deal with their pathologies and reestablish
            a balance by itself, so the original imbalance is many centuries old, but it
            becomes apparent now, when these cultures have spread to wide extensions.

            I guess that if we take the natural philosophy too strictly, we have to come
            to the conclusion of letting the fungal diseases wipe out the vegetables
            they feed on, and themselves as a consequence, after many years the
            environment here will be clean of both, and then better we go on with local
            species and forget about tomato and potato.

            OR we stay aware that we are forcing Mother Nature's hand a little bit and
            try to find some acceptable and workable compromise.

            We are in the process of getting a national park established here, and I
            understand Dieter's point perfectly and have similar worries for a series of
            areas which are actually inhabited (or were before the war - we are in
            Bosnia), so there has been agriculture and cattle breeding there for
            centuries. The guys who did the feasibility study seem to have been very
            superficial on that, didn't really explore the area thoroughly, which is a
            returnee's area with people slowly going back to their villages. There are
            ideas of a "zero area" (total protection, everything forbidden) to be
            established were it really shouldn't be, since it's not total wilderness but
            a mixed ecosystem, of which humans have been a part for a long time.

            So please, Dieter, if you have texts (you quoted press articles) pointing
            out to these situations, send them to me, because I'm in the phase of giving
            feedback to the federal government here on the proposed law, and overall
            project.

            paola
          • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
            . It is the dry vegetation that provides the combustible materials during wild fires in the summer. Most of the abandoned properties in this region are
            Message 5 of 25 , Nov 18, 2005
              .

              It is the dry vegetation that provides the combustible materials
              during wild fires in the summer. Most of the abandoned properties
              in this region are covered by an impenetrable mass of shrubs of up
              to three meters tall. A single spark of one stone hitting another
              can ignite this to produce an intense fire with flames shooting10 or
              20 meters into the air. Last year about 10 % of the national
              territory went up in flames.

              so you have lot means of learning about how nature does to revegetate the
              land after the fire bruned the bushes . from this learning once the brush is
              shreded ( if you choose that way ) you can design a succession of plants
              using edible plants if you wish .



              <This is theory. Things are different here. Part of our land is
              covered with a thick growth of medronho (arbusto unedo??). The
              bushes form a thick cover of foliage more than 6 meters above the
              ground. The ancient oak trees in-between have about reached the end
              of their live span and start to fall down. New trees which would
              normally have grown from the oaks have not been able to grow since
              no sun light reaches the ground. If I want to save the oak forest I
              will have to cut the medronho, which will grow again faster than I
              can cut it down.>

              what is the life cycle of the arbutus ? how old are they?

              you don't have to go all or nothing , between the arbutus and the oak there
              is possibly something else in the succession that will take over the
              arbutus and prepare the ground for the oak.
              here after a clear cut you will have alders , native berries or scotch broom
              and many other trees and bushes in smaller number as a necessary precursors
              for the climax tree ( fir, cedar ) to establish again .
              on a smaller vegetation scale i had a field who have been hayed for many
              years without any return of fertility to the land , infested with wild
              carrots . without me destroying the carrots in 2 or 3 years of bringing new
              species , the carrot vanished from the field .
              i would like you to understand that arbutus have a function you might not be
              able to understand ( you don't need to ever ,just that it is there)

              <Theories about advancing deserts have no relevance around here. The
              wet season normally provides for so much growth that the only
              problem is what you do with all that biomass. To let it go up in
              flames during the summer is certainly not going to improve our
              climate.

              you din't seem to notice the practical ideas in my last post .
              what do you mean it is not relevant ? do you mean your aera is not
              desertifying because it rain in winter and biomass is not decreasing . think
              about Masanobu 's aproach that rain comes from the leaves ... biomass
              increase, means more leaves available to attract water .one of the big
              signs of desertification is when a species takes over the previous diversity
              .
              to really action the pumping of water between the underground and the sky
              by plants , you need all layers of the soil to be occupied by roots , for
              so, you need diverse physical structure of the biomass.

              again with the complex diversity in species ,physical structure and
              functions come resistance to fire .



              <Jean-Claude, the general drift of your comments seems to be against
              intervention in nature. >


              you missed my point ! that is : intervention , what for ? what effects could
              follow?
              any intervention from your part ever in alignment or not with nature's
              intention ( especially when not) , will require response ability from your
              part later on . how much do you want to be involved ? and for what? Do you
              want to have to fight the brushes to come back .do you want to takes the
              risk of having to deal with more difficult species acting as functional
              replacement of arbutus ( by the way the fruit are very tasty and would like
              to know if they can reproduce by cutting, they grow here as an ornemental )

              step back from what you think is the problem and observe the situation from
              the perspective of a small point (in time and space ) in a big scheme.



              < This land needs the hand of the labourer. Traditionally, the
              region was populated by a large number of small farmsteads operating
              just a little above the level of subsistence farming. Agriculture,
              goats and other domestic animals kept the land clear and in good
              condition so that droughts and wild fires, which have occurred since
              time immemorial, had no great impact. Economic and political
              factors are driving these people into the city. And those who want
              to live here are now hampered by laws and regulations thought up by
              nature conservationists, city dwellers in the North of Europe, whose
              romantic view of nature would like to create a picture book
              landscape without any people in it. The result has been
              disastrous. If you followed the news during the summer you may have
              noticed that it was in particular the natural parks that went up in
              flames.>

              masanobu 's experience with his father's fruit trees left unpruned, should
              help us to learn more reasonbly than "laisser faire". In any way i am
              advocating irresponsability toward past mistakes .
              fire don't create desert ever, the causes are deeper than simply removing of
              plants .

              < (Fukuoka
              mentioned something about growing rice without water, but I suppose
              this means less water and not no water at all). >

              they get a lot of rain in japan and also he inundated his field for few
              days
              what about pomegrenate, figs and other mediteranean edible plants ( i bet
              figs thicket don't burn easelly .)
              jean-claude
            • Elsa Santos
              Hi Dieter, We re practically neighbours! (some seven miles appart). Would be great to meet up and talk about our complicated situation...that we will overcome
              Message 6 of 25 , Nov 18, 2005
                Hi Dieter,

                We're practically neighbours! (some seven miles appart).
                Would be great to meet up and talk about our complicated situation...that we will overcome - thanks to groups like this and all other info we can gather + intuition & connection to the land. In the meantime below are my details. I'm in Brejão, please see www.montesamoqueiro.com.
                Looking forward to meeting you & sharing some ideas (and seeds as well - the local endemic drought resistent legume variety "Xixaro" has done miracles... consociated with sarracen wheat and another local: "zorrinho" corn, which can survive on practically no water and has water retentive roots, like a cactus (weird, I know...) - more about these when we meet :))

                Good luck to all in a dry climate facing similar problems... whish I new the name of the varieties I mentioned in latin, although I'm sure you'll have the equivalent edndemics in your own region. Maybe part of the solution, and something Fukuoka-san might have advocated (I'm speculating), is to use the autoctone/endemic varieties that are naturally adapted to that environment and make seed balls with those...

                Best for now
                Elsa

                diebrand <diebrand@...> wrote:
                Many thanks to Gloria, Elsa, Jean-Claude, Bat-Tzion and Larry for
                replying to my query. Here are my comments:

                Larry wrote:
                > … goats are used in some parts of southern California to reduce
                the dense chapparal
                shrubbery …

                Same here. I`m still hesitating about getting animals, we are not
                great meet eaters. There are also thousands of young trees which it
                would be difficult to protect from the goats. This is traditional
                cork oak/medronho country, and overgrazing by goats under previous
                owners has wiped out a few generations of oak trees, with the result
                that we now only have very old trees which are about to die, and
                young trees which have grown since we bought the place.

                > … shredded groundcover does not present a significant fire hazard.
                Yes, it can
                burn, but it would be, at most, an easily controllable creeping
                ground fire.
                Such fires rarely, if ever, are of serious concern to the wildland …

                That is what I'm hoping for too, but with wild fires you just never
                know. It always depends on were it comes from and at what speed.
                We are completely surrounded by enormous Eucalyptus plantations
                which provide a lot of combustible material.

                > … check out some of the articles I've written/posted in
                the Wildland Fire section of my website - http://larryhaftl.com/

                Will do.

                Bat-Tzion wrote:
                > I think Mr. Fukuoka was against irrigation. (can anyone tell me if
                he was?)--if so, how did he propose people in mediterranean climates
                should grow in the summer?

                My question exactly!

                > If I had more time and money I would try to set up a dew-
                harvesting system to harvest the water from the humid night air and
                direct it onto the mulch in order to avoid irrigating with piped in
                water.

                How does that work and how much water can one expect to get this
                way? This is a new idea to me, do you know were I can get the
                details of such a system? The night air here too is very humid.

                > If you want to encourage ants to go elsewhere you can take a
                shovelful of ants from one ant colony, a shovelful from another ant
                colony, then trade shovelsful and the ants will take care of the
                rest.

                That's an interesting idea, I wonder if it works.

                > If you wish to make a dialog with me off list, i'm also
                interested, but I can't really tell you from the perspective of
                fukuoka exactly, just my own experience.

                Experience is what counts. I will send you my email address.

                > I would also like to know about your cutter/shredder because I've
                thought I would need such a thing to tackle larger areas of land.

                This is a disk of about 40 to 50 cm with two bent blades attached to
                it by bolts and nuts so that the blades can rotate and recoil when
                you hit a stone. The disk is mounted to a brushcutter instead of
                the normal trimmer with the 3 fixed blades. The bent blades enable
                you to shred rather than just cut once. You can see a picture of it
                under the title of `Hackscheibe mit gebogenen Messern' at the site
                http://www.dolmar.ch/sensenzubehoer/SENSENZUBEHOER_2.HTML

                When I cut shrubs of about 2 meter heights at their base with the
                normal trimmer with fixed blades they will lay on the ground to a
                height of about 1.50 m and take 5 to 10 years to disintegrate. With
                the disk and the bent blades I can cut the shrubs into small peaces
                forming a layer of less than 10 cm. The smaller peaces will also
                disintegrate sooner than the shrub as a whole. The disk works best
                with fine and very dense shrubs. The thicker the branches the
                tougher it gets.

                Gloria wrote:

                > I am wondering if you might not instead garden/farm under the
                driplines of trees. In this way you will not have such intense
                sun/heat on your plants resulting in less evaporation of any water
                that is available.

                My `summer garden' is down by the river in the shade of big alder
                trees and some fruit trees I planted. With all the other measures
                (improving soil structure, mulching, cover crops etc.) I use a lot
                less water than my neighbours, but the available water resources
                still don't allow me to irrigate much more than 2,000 square meters
                or so.

                >Over time I have found less reason to water. I know it sounds
                strange, but my gardens by the trees still flourish.

                Well, I wonder how you do it.

                > digging some swales there might also help so the ground water
                builds up in the season that it does rain. I know it has helped me
                here in the Texas drought

                I imagine I would have to dig a lot of swales for this to have any
                effect.

                Elsa wrote:
                > Whereabouts in the Alentejo are you? …

                A remote location near Relva Grande, about 10 km inland from Sao
                Teotonio between Odemira and Odeceixe.

                > solutions for their problems seem to slowly be working to. So, I'd
                be glad to share some ideas...

                How about meeting? I will send you my details to your Yahoo
                account. Don't use mine, I haven't managed to activate it yet.

                Jean-Claude wrote:

                > if your only reason to intervene is to prevent fire it doesn't
                makes sense
                to destroy the vegetal cover to prevent a possible fire …

                It is the dry vegetation that provides the combustible materials
                during wild fires in the summer. Most of the abandoned properties
                in this region are covered by an impenetrable mass of shrubs of up
                to three meters tall. A single spark of one stone hitting another
                can ignite this to produce an intense fire with flames shooting10 or
                20 meters into the air. Last year about 10 % of the national
                territory went up in flames. During days, the smoke was everywhere
                and so dense that it wasn't even possible to see where it came
                from. We had difficulty breathing.

                >what this aera of the globe need the most , in front of the
                extention of the
                sahara desert , is increased biomass ,the bushes allready prepar the
                ground
                for trees to come

                This is theory. Things are different here. Part of our land is
                covered with a thick growth of medronho (arbusto unedo??). The
                bushes form a thick cover of foliage more than 6 meters above the
                ground. The ancient oak trees in-between have about reached the end
                of their live span and start to fall down. New trees which would
                normally have grown from the oaks have not been able to grow since
                no sun light reaches the ground. If I want to save the oak forest I
                will have to cut the medronho, which will grow again faster than I
                can cut it down.

                Theories about advancing deserts have no relevance around here. The
                wet season normally provides for so much growth that the only
                problem is what you do with all that biomass. To let it go up in
                flames during the summer is certainly not going to improve our
                climate.

                Jean-Claude, the general drift of your comments seems to be against
                intervention in nature. This may be fine for other place, it isn't
                here. This land needs the hand of the labourer. Traditionally, the
                region was populated by a large number of small farmsteads operating
                just a little above the level of subsistence farming. Agriculture,
                goats and other domestic animals kept the land clear and in good
                condition so that droughts and wild fires, which have occurred since
                time immemorial, had no great impact. Economic and political
                factors are driving these people into the city. And those who want
                to live here are now hampered by laws and regulations thought up by
                nature conservationists, city dwellers in the North of Europe, whose
                romantic view of nature would like to create a picture book
                landscape without any people in it. The result has been
                disastrous. If you followed the news during the summer you may have
                noticed that it was in particular the natural parks that went up in
                flames.

                PS: Fire prevention is of course not my only concern. The reason I
                posted my message to this group was to get some input about what to
                grow once I have cleared the thicket. At present I'm thinking about
                green manure: clover, lupines, etc. and grains like wheat, barley
                etc. But I still lack information about the conditions required by
                the various crops (is there a comprehensive list available on the
                Internet?). Ideally I would like to grow rice and soja (Fukuoka
                mentioned something about growing rice without water, but I suppose
                this means less water and not no water at all). I also like to use
                native plants that will grow locally without irrigation or
                cultivation. However, I still haven't been able to get much
                information on native plants. Most documents on gardening and
                agriculture seem to be for the North of Europe or for the US.

                Regards, Dieter









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              • Elsa Santos
                Hi Dieter, We re practically neighbours! (some seven miles appart). Would be great to meet up and talk about our complicated situation...that we will overcome
                Message 7 of 25 , Nov 18, 2005
                  Hi Dieter,

                  We're practically neighbours! (some seven miles appart).
                  Would be great to meet up and talk about our complicated situation...that we will overcome - thanks to groups like this and all other info we can gather + intuition & connection to the land. In the meantime below are my details. I'm in Brejão, please see www.montesamoqueiro.com.
                  Looking forward to meeting you & sharing some ideas (and seeds as well - the local endemic drought resistent legume variety "Xixaro" has done miracles... consociated with sarracen wheat and another local: "zorrinho" corn, which can survive on practically no water and has water retentive roots, like a cactus (weird, I know...) - more about these when we meet :))

                  Good luck to all in a dry climate facing similar problems... whish I new the name of the varieties I mentioned in latin, although I'm sure you'll have the equivalent edndemics in your own region. Maybe part of the solution, and something Fukuoka-san might have advocated (I'm speculating), is to use the autoctone/endemic varieties that are naturally adapted to that environment and make seed balls with those...

                  Best for now
                  Elsa


                  Elsa Santos <elsamagosa@...> wrote:

                  Hi Dieter,

                  It's so good to hear from someone from around here... I can so totally relate to your problem!!! as I am in the Alentejo myself and trying to make a living off the ground as well as naturally as possible - but so far having to deal with all the difficulties that mention in your mail, myself. The weather is changing so unbelievably fast, isn't it? Scary.
                  Whereabouts in the Alentejo are you? The coast and the inland areas are so very different over here. I am on the coast, bordering the Algarve and have got sandy soil and milder temperatures than, say Beja, + no frost, but strong winds, less moisture, than inland (and most) of the region. I have found a few solutions for both my situation and some for my friends who have land in clayie, mountainous, frosty places in the mountains here in Saboia (Odemira) - the solutions for their problems seem to slowly be working to. So, I'd be glad to share some ideas...
                  I wish there were more of us natural/organic/biodynamic farmers around here - maybe if there were, this place wouldn't be turning into a desert so fast. Let's hope we can turn this around!
                  Kindest for now
                  Elsa

                  Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:
                  Hi,
                  I’m in the process of clearing an overgrown piece of land in the Alentejo
                  region in the South of Portugal. I have been using composting, mulching,
                  green manure under-sowing etc. for a number of years to grow vegetables
                  on the lower reaches of the property while leaving the surrounding hill
                  sides largely untouched. However, the devastating wild fires in recent
                  years have convinced me of the importance of clearing more land of the
                  thicket and undergrowth.
                  While composting is OK for the vegetable garden it is hardly feasible for
                  cultivating several hectares of land. Also, the sloping terrain makes digging
                  and ploughing a definite no, no! I discovered a little device that permits
                  me to cut and shred the scrubs at the same time; however, even shredded
                  the woody parts will take years to disintegrate into the soil, and thus pose
                  an, albeit reduced, fire hazard. My idea was to sow clover and other seeds
                  into the mulch layer of shredded scrubs to accelerate the building of top soil. Unfortunately, none of these germinated since we have just come through
                  the severest drought in 60 years with hardly any rain at all during the whole
                  year. When the rain finally came last October I rushed out with bags full
                  of clover and lupine seeds as well wheat, barley, oats, etc. Some of it
                  already started to germinate when after 3 days the sun came out and with
                  it the ants, which collected well over half of the almost 50 kg of seeds I
                  had sown.
                  Next, I started making seed balls by the various methods described by
                  Fukuoka (tray, mesh). I put it down to my inexperience, but I found this
                  to be a rather messy and cumbersome affair. Also, none of the seed balls
                  show any sign of wanting to germinate yet, there is probably still not enough
                  humidity. Before investing in any more equipment (drums etc.) I want to
                  be sure that the thing can actually be made to work.
                  I’m still eager to give natural farming a try, but I would like to hear from
                  everybody who can share his/her experience of similar climatic conditions.
                  The climat in the South of Portugal is considered to be Mediterranean,
                  but there is definitely a lot less humidity during the summer than for example
                  in the South of France or in Italy. In a normal year, we get enough rain
                  for growing crops without irrigation from October to May. The winters
                  are mild with only occasional light frost at night, especially in the lower
                  reaches. During the June to September period we usually don’t get a
                  single drop of rain; during this period the sun, with temperature of up to
                  40 degrees C, will back the heavy clay soil to the consistency of concrete
                  right down to the solid rock.
                  Apart from the seed ball problem I have so many questions that I don’t
                  want to abuse your patients in this post. Most of it is related to the
                  question of what to sow and when, how to improve the humidity-retention
                  properties of the soil, and the dilemma of how to reduce the fire hazard
                  during the summer while leaving tons of dry organic matter laying around
                  to keep the soil nice and covered. People around here use enormous big
                  bulldozers to rip up the ground every year in order to put a few
                  hundred meters of bare earth between themselves and any combustible
                  material.
                  Regards, Dieter



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                • Berin Erturk
                  Paola Lucchesi wrote: Dear Paola, Thank you for describing my area so well! ...We are blessed by abundance of water here, a
                  Message 8 of 25 , Nov 18, 2005
                    Paola Lucchesi <paola.lucchesi@...> wrote: Dear Paola,
                    Thank you for describing my area so well!
                    ...We are
                    blessed by abundance of water here, a major river, plenty of streams and
                    sources, frequent rains, overnight humudity... And a completely opposite set
                    of problems: fungal disease above all. So I did mistakes like planting
                    tomatoes too close, and found out too late that I didn't need to worry about
                    dry soil, rather about infection spreading. I'm currently researching the
                    question of spores surviving the winter and I'm desperate about all the
                    biomass laying around (falling leaves), which is infected by all sorts of
                    fungi and moulds. Some I can identify, of others I'm not sure, and I doubt I
                    can be good enough at making very hot compost to be sure I get rid of the
                    risks of carrying the disease into the next season (I'm a beginner anyway).

                    This year I tried Franck's method of planting vegetables in rows, with good companions next to each other and at least two meters of distance between the rows of the same plant. It was my first trial and I made some planning mistakes, but fungal diseases (and insects) were much less compared to previous years and to vegetable gardens of my neighbors.
                    My problem was with the vegetable seeds I spread. Almost nothing came up. They were overgrown by weeds.

                    Now, very probably something is out of balance here, in the sense that there
                    should not be so much of this type of disease. I observe the difference
                    between the wild and the "domesticated" plants, the wild being usually
                    healthy close to the infected domesticated. But now, the wild plants have
                    taken it up too, and this is quite worrying. I mentioned the broadleaf dock
                    and dandelion, but even some stinging nettle has been involved! It's sort of
                    scary. To say nothing of all the trees around. There are some beautiful
                    apples and peer trees around the garden here (planted by my landlords years
                    ago), and they are all sick, and scattering around masses of sick leaves.
                    Hmmm, even if I wanted to do something about it, there's no question of
                    spraying any helping preparations (we have planty of horsetail around, which
                    could help) on those giants, too tall, too many branches... And we are in a
                    context of small houses with gardens, all around, so spores can easily
                    travel from one patch to the other, it's really a community issue.

                    I am told that most of the fruit fungal diseases overwinter on fallen leaves. In other words diseased leaves are the main sorce of infection. For us, it is impractical -if not impossible- to remove those infected leaves from the orchard. (The orchard is the "commercial" side of the farm, conventionally planted and managed for years. Though it is now "organic" I cannot dare to venture into Fukuoka's "no pruning.") So instead of removing infected leaves we will try to let them rot where they are. We will cut them into small pieces with a shredder and encourage decay with a solution of thymian oil.

                    Phytophthora is the potato blight, originally, the one which caused the
                    Irish famine. And potato, like tomato, is NOT original from Europe. So I
                    guess the true root of the problem is that we are dealing with imported
                    species which were never really meant for this climate, nor is the
                    environment here "programmed" to deal with their pathologies and reestablish
                    a balance by itself, so the original imbalance is many centuries old, but it
                    becomes apparent now, when these cultures have spread to wide extensions.

                    Yes tomato and potato have been imported to Europe years ago. But I think they had adopted to local conditions. We did not have such problems with local breeds. It is only after spreading of more "commercial" breeds (better yield, larger fruit, sturdier, and no taste) that problems started.

                    I guess that if we take the natural philosophy too strictly, we have to come
                    to the conclusion of letting the fungal diseases wipe out the vegetables
                    they feed on, and themselves as a consequence, after many years the
                    environment here will be clean of both, and then better we go on with local
                    species and forget about tomato and potato.

                    OR we stay aware that we are forcing Mother Nature's hand a little bit and
                    try to find some acceptable and workable compromise.

                    We are in the process of getting a national park established here, and I
                    understand Dieter's point perfectly and have similar worries for a series of
                    areas which are actually inhabited (or were before the war - we are in
                    Bosnia), so there has been agriculture and cattle breeding there for
                    centuries. The guys who did the feasibility study seem to have been very
                    superficial on that, didn't really explore the area thoroughly, which is a
                    returnee's area with people slowly going back to their villages. There are
                    ideas of a "zero area" (total protection, everything forbidden) to be
                    established were it really shouldn't be, since it's not total wilderness but
                    a mixed ecosystem, of which humans have been a part for a long time.

                    So please, Dieter, if you have texts (you quoted press articles) pointing
                    out to these situations, send them to me, because I'm in the phase of giving
                    feedback to the federal government here on the proposed law, and overall
                    project.

                    paola

                    Good luck Paola,
                    Berin Erturk
                    Jade Farm, Turkey


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                  • lh@larryhaftl.com
                    ... There was a lot more to that message that contained what may be useful information, but this statement is dangerously false. To a wildfire, vegetation is
                    Message 9 of 25 , Nov 18, 2005
                      jean-claude wrote:

                      > again with the complex diversity in species ,physical structure and
                      > functions come resistance to fire .

                      There was a lot more to that message that contained what may be useful
                      information, but this statement is dangerously false.

                      To a wildfire, vegetation is fuel. The type of vegetation matters, but much,
                      much less than the quantity, height, and moisture content. A multi-storied
                      woodland may be biologically very diverse, but it contains "ladder fuels",
                      plants that allow ground fires to reach up into the foliage of mature trees.
                      This is NOT a good thing when it comes to suppressing or controlling a
                      wildfire. A ground fire can burn through a woodland without seriously
                      damaging the mature trees (and the ecosystem in general) if there are not
                      ladder fuels that lead it into the canopy of the trees. Tens of thousands of
                      acres are deliberately burned each year in the U.S. using this tendency
                      (called "prescribed burning") in order to prevent fuel buildup that would
                      eventually become dangerous to the forest and everything in it.

                      Encouraging biodiversity in the understory is obviously a good thing, but
                      not if it provides ladder fuels or heavy "fuel loads" in an area prone to
                      wildfires.

                      This is not a theoretical comment. It is based on several years of getting
                      up close and personal with wildfires from Florida to Alaska. If any of you
                      want more information on this there are more than thirty published articles
                      posted on my website: http://larryhaftl.com in the wildland fire section.

                      Larry Haftl
                    • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
                      ... we can agree about that . species of vegetation have different abilities to burn or to resist burn by their water content . Most of the fire fighting
                      Message 10 of 25 , Nov 21, 2005
                        > jean-claude wrote:
                        >
                        >> again with the complex diversity in species ,physical structure and
                        >> functions come resistance to fire .
                        >
                        > There was a lot more to that message that contained what may be useful
                        > information, but this statement is dangerously false.
                        >
                        > To a wildfire, vegetation is fuel. The type of vegetation matters, but
                        > much,
                        > much less than the quantity, height, and moisture content.

                        we can agree about that . species of vegetation have different abilities to
                        burn or to resist burn by their water content .
                        Most of the fire fighting experience comes from planted second growth or
                        third growth forests that present a uniformity of age that help to spread
                        fires , either thru decaying matter on the ground , bushes or canopy .anyone
                        of those layers present too much of the same, making available a lot of
                        fuel .
                        i still maintain that when the forest is diverse in ages, species and
                        spatially present patches structurally diverses ,fires can leave lot of
                        pockets of unburned areas.
                        to the situation of the arbutus bushes that triggered my reflexions , my
                        recomendation of diversifying is especially true

                        i have an old friend of 87 years of age ecoforester for decades. he manage
                        his forests promoting green undergrowth . he think about fire all the time
                        but he is way more scare by his neighbours practices of clearcutting and
                        replanting mono cultures of trees making also, uniformed undergrowth of same
                        age .
                        when i makes a fire in my stove , to grow the fire i need a certain amount
                        of sticks for every different thickness , i need a certain relationship
                        between the layers of different sizes sticks ( each one with sufficient
                        fuel) for the fire to spread from one layer to an other easelly .

                        A multi-storied
                        > woodland may be biologically very diverse, but it contains "ladder fuels",
                        > plants that allow ground fires to reach up into the foliage of mature
                        > trees.

                        what you say is true in the context of uniform second or third growth where
                        the canopy is of the same eight and full . in that context any possibility
                        of ladder fuel is agravating the situation helping propagate from ground to
                        canopy
                        mature trees in a first growth diverse forest present a canopy of variable
                        height with important holes when big old trees fall. for the fire to spread
                        it have to keep going up and down .


                        > This is NOT a good thing when it comes to suppressing or controlling a
                        > wildfire. A ground fire can burn through a woodland without seriously
                        > damaging the mature trees (and the ecosystem in general) if there are not
                        > ladder fuels that lead it into the canopy of the trees. Tens of thousands
                        > of
                        > acres are deliberately burned each year in the U.S. using this tendency
                        > (called "prescribed burning") in order to prevent fuel buildup that would
                        > eventually become dangerous to the forest and everything in it.

                        i bet those measures are also implemented to help the harvesting of trees
                        without bother from the messy undergrowth. they do that also because they
                        don't care loosing the next generations of trees as their idea of an ideal
                        forest is a planted monoculture .cut and replant .
                        i think this practice is absolutelly insane ,if needed because the bad
                        managements of forest into monocultures , i will prefer see harvesting and
                        composting the undergrowth as jean pain in France demonstrated .

                        it comes back to this idea that you can prevent wars by creating wars .I
                        know, it is in fashion in the states , you can see that attitude at every
                        level in every direction from the fight against viral diseases to full blown
                        attack against foreign countries via the stories in movies and medias .i
                        wish this madness will be enlightened ( with wild fires :-) ) by this other
                        attitude .<in my defenselessness ,my safety lie .>

                        > This is not a theoretical comment. It is based on several years of getting
                        > up close and personal with wildfires from Florida to Alaska. If any of you
                        > want more information on this there are more than thirty published
                        > articles
                        > posted on my website: http://larryhaftl.com in the wildland fire section.

                        did you wrote those articles ? have you been following fires as journalist ?
                        jean-claude
                      • lh@larryhaftl.com
                        ... It s not just water content. Some species, palmetto palm for example, emit a volitile oil when heated by oncoming fire. The oil is as explosive as
                        Message 11 of 25 , Nov 21, 2005
                          > jean-claude wrote:
                          > we can agree about that . species of vegetation have different abilities
                          > to
                          > burn or to resist burn by their water content .

                          It's not just water content. Some species, palmetto palm for example, emit a
                          volitile oil when heated by oncoming fire. The oil is as explosive as
                          gasoline. Other species are fire-dependent, needing fire to propagate, like
                          the black birch of the arctic tundras and just about 100% of Florida's
                          native vegetation.. And other species simply grow so dense naturally that
                          any fire going through that area becomes an inferno. lodgepole pine for
                          example.

                          > Most of the fire fighting experience comes from planted second growth or
                          > third growth forests that present a uniformity of age that help to spread
                          > fires , either thru decaying matter on the ground , bushes or canopy
                          > .anyone
                          > of those layers present too much of the same, making available a lot of
                          > fuel .
                          > i still maintain that when the forest is diverse in ages, species and
                          > spatially present patches structurally diverses ,fires can leave lot of
                          > pockets of unburned areas.
                          > to the situation of the arbutus bushes that triggered my reflexions , my
                          > recomendation of diversifying is especially true

                          Wildfires do indeed sometimes leave untouched pockets in an otherwise
                          totally nuked area. They are called refugia. But they are spared the
                          devastation, according to those who study them intensely for a living, by
                          flukes of wind and terrain, not because of their vegetation. Any forest,
                          regardless of age, that has substantial ladder fuels present is a forest
                          waiting to develop a devastating crown fire.


                          >> A multi-storied
                          >> woodland may be biologically very diverse, but it contains "ladder
                          >> fuels",
                          >> plants that allow ground fires to reach up into the foliage of mature
                          >> trees.
                          >
                          > what you say is true in the context of uniform second or third growth
                          > where
                          > the canopy is of the same eight and full . in that context any possibility
                          > of ladder fuel is agravating the situation helping propagate from ground
                          > to
                          > canopy
                          > mature trees in a first growth diverse forest present a canopy of variable
                          > height with important holes when big old trees fall. for the fire to
                          > spread
                          > it have to keep going up and down .

                          What I said is true regardless of the age and biodiversity of the forest.
                          Any forest with heavy fuel loads and/or substantial ladder fuels is a forest
                          waiting for a catastrophic fire to turn it into a lunar landscape. Once a
                          fire gets into the crowns of a forest (where a lot of the vegetation is) it
                          can jump over large gaps in the vegetation. I saw one wildfire jump more
                          than one hundred yards over a four-lane interstate, with very wide median
                          and sides, without even slowing down. That is not unusual, especially if the
                          fire is also wind-driven.


                          > i bet those measures are also implemented to help the harvesting of trees
                          > without bother from the messy undergrowth. they do that also because they
                          > don't care loosing the next generations of trees as their idea of an ideal
                          > forest is a planted monoculture .cut and replant .
                          > i think this practice is absolutelly insane ,if needed because the bad
                          > managements of forest into monocultures , i will prefer see harvesting
                          > and
                          > composting the undergrowth as jean pain in France demonstrated .

                          You would lose that bet. They are done almost without exception to help
                          prevent catastrophic wildfires that result when vegetation/fuel loads are
                          allowed to grow too heavy. They are done in forests that have never been
                          logged, forests that don't have any marketable timber on it, and urban
                          forests in addition to forests that have marketable timber. Native Americans
                          also have a long history of burning off the undergrowth to improve wildlife
                          habitat, and therefore hunting.

                          >> This is not a theoretical comment. It is based on several years of
                          >> getting
                          >> up close and personal with wildfires from Florida to Alaska. If any of
                          >> you
                          >> want more information on this there are more than thirty published
                          >> articles
                          >> posted on my website: http://larryhaftl.com in the wildland fire
                          >> section.
                          >
                          > did you wrote those articles ? have you been following fires as journalist
                          > ?

                          Yes. I was a certified wildland firefighter with a specialty of
                          pyrovideographer/journalist and worked for Wildland Firefighter magazine for
                          several years. It enabled me to get up close and personal with wildland
                          fires in may different ecosystems and to talk to many of the top wildland
                          firefighters in the U.S. and Canada.

                          Larry Haftl
                        • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
                          ... a friend of mine who used to live in Malibu told me today his personal struggle to keep his house burning from a forest fire . he saw the fire jumping the
                          Message 12 of 25 , Nov 21, 2005
                            > It's not just water content. Some species, palmetto palm for example, emit
                            > a
                            > volitile oil when heated by oncoming fire. The oil is as explosive as
                            > gasoline. Other species are fire-dependent, needing fire to propagate,
                            > like
                            > the black birch of the arctic tundras and just about 100% of Florida's
                            > native vegetation.. And other species simply grow so dense naturally that
                            > any fire going through that area becomes an inferno. lodgepole pine for
                            > example.
                            >
                            >> Most of the fire fighting experience comes from planted second growth or
                            >> third growth forests that present a uniformity of age that help to spread
                            >> fires , either thru decaying matter on the ground , bushes or canopy
                            >> .anyone
                            >> of those layers present too much of the same, making available a lot of
                            >> fuel .
                            >> i still maintain that when the forest is diverse in ages, species and
                            >> spatially present patches structurally diverses ,fires can leave lot of
                            >> pockets of unburned areas.
                            >> to the situation of the arbutus bushes that triggered my reflexions , my
                            >> recomendation of diversifying is especially true
                            >
                            > Wildfires do indeed sometimes leave untouched pockets in an otherwise
                            > totally nuked area. They are called refugia. But they are spared the
                            > devastation, according to those who study them intensely for a living, by
                            > flukes of wind and terrain, not because of their vegetation. Any forest,
                            > regardless of age, that has substantial ladder fuels present is a forest
                            > waiting to develop a devastating crown fire.
                            >
                            >
                            >>> A multi-storied
                            >>> woodland may be biologically very diverse, but it contains "ladder
                            >>> fuels",
                            >>> plants that allow ground fires to reach up into the foliage of mature
                            >>> trees.
                            >>
                            >> what you say is true in the context of uniform second or third growth
                            >> where
                            >> the canopy is of the same eight and full . in that context any
                            >> possibility
                            >> of ladder fuel is agravating the situation helping propagate from ground
                            >> to
                            >> canopy
                            >> mature trees in a first growth diverse forest present a canopy of
                            >> variable
                            >> height with important holes when big old trees fall. for the fire to
                            >> spread
                            >> it have to keep going up and down .
                            >
                            > What I said is true regardless of the age and biodiversity of the forest.
                            > Any forest with heavy fuel loads and/or substantial ladder fuels is a
                            > forest
                            > waiting for a catastrophic fire to turn it into a lunar landscape. Once a
                            > fire gets into the crowns of a forest (where a lot of the vegetation is)
                            > it
                            > can jump over large gaps in the vegetation. I saw one wildfire jump more
                            > than one hundred yards over a four-lane interstate, with very wide median
                            > and sides, without even slowing down. That is not unusual, especially if
                            > the
                            > fire is also wind-driven.

                            a friend of mine who used to live in Malibu told me today his personal
                            struggle to keep his house burning from a forest fire . he saw the fire
                            jumping the whole canon from top to top . so my question is unless
                            EVERYTHING is allready burned preventivelly how a fire of that force can
                            spare any forest even when ladder fuels are burned in advance ? he still
                            saved his house by keeping a small clearing around the house and a garden
                            hose .

                            > You would lose that bet. They are done almost without exception to help
                            > prevent catastrophic wildfires that result when vegetation/fuel loads are
                            > allowed to grow too heavy. They are done in forests that have never been
                            > logged, forests that don't have any marketable timber on it, and urban
                            > forests in addition to forests that have marketable timber.

                            when it is done around buildings i understand that it is the motivation ,
                            but when not , who care if the forest burn if it is not the ones who don't
                            want to loose the harvest of valuable wood .



                            Native Americans
                            > also have a long history of burning off the undergrowth to improve
                            > wildlife
                            > habitat, and therefore hunting.

                            see my comments in response to forest .to wich i want to add that primitive
                            peoples could also have contribuated to the deserts . fire is a powerfull
                            tool that require very wise hands . i am trusting more the natives wisdom
                            than the scientific or specialist expertises.They probably learned from
                            their own excesses thru traditions passed on generations after generations
                            to the whole community , contrary to shortly aquired academic knowledge of
                            few specialists.

                            jean-claude
                          • Shane Morkin
                            On the topic of forest fires and homes: I would like to point out that solar, underground homes are, generally speaking, fireproof. (check out books by
                            Message 13 of 25 , Nov 23, 2005
                              On the topic of forest fires and homes: I would like to point out that
                              solar, underground homes are, generally speaking, fireproof. (check out
                              books by Malcolm Wells or see John Hait¹s work,
                              http://www.axwoodfarm.com/PAHS/UmbrellaHouse.html)

                              For renovations, I would imagine berming the walls of a home with earth or
                              installing a living roof --if you are not using the roof for rainwater
                              catchment‹would also help to make a home fireproof. Such renovations should
                              also help reduce heating and cooling requirements as well.

                              Shane

                              On 22/11/05 8:31, "Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry" <instinct@...>
                              wrote:

                              >
                              >> > It's not just water content. Some species, palmetto palm for example, emit
                              >> > a
                              >> > volitile oil when heated by oncoming fire. The oil is as explosive as
                              >> > gasoline. Other species are fire-dependent, needing fire to propagate,
                              >> > like
                              >> > the black birch of the arctic tundras and just about 100% of Florida's
                              >> > native vegetation.. And other species simply grow so dense naturally that
                              >> > any fire going through that area becomes an inferno. lodgepole pine for
                              >> > example.
                              >> >
                              >>> >> Most of the fire fighting experience comes from planted second growth or
                              >>> >> third growth forests that present a uniformity of age that help to spread
                              >>> >> fires , either thru decaying matter on the ground , bushes or canopy
                              >>> >> .anyone
                              >>> >> of those layers present too much of the same, making available a lot of
                              >>> >> fuel .
                              >>> >> i still maintain that when the forest is diverse in ages, species and
                              >>> >> spatially present patches structurally diverses ,fires can leave lot of
                              >>> >> pockets of unburned areas.
                              >>> >> to the situation of the arbutus bushes that triggered my reflexions , my
                              >>> >> recomendation of diversifying is especially true
                              >> >
                              >> > Wildfires do indeed sometimes leave untouched pockets in an otherwise
                              >> > totally nuked area. They are called refugia. But they are spared the
                              >> > devastation, according to those who study them intensely for a living, by
                              >> > flukes of wind and terrain, not because of their vegetation. Any forest,
                              >> > regardless of age, that has substantial ladder fuels present is a forest
                              >> > waiting to develop a devastating crown fire.
                              >> >
                              >> >
                              >>>> >>> A multi-storied
                              >>>> >>> woodland may be biologically very diverse, but it contains "ladder
                              >>>> >>> fuels",
                              >>>> >>> plants that allow ground fires to reach up into the foliage of mature
                              >>>> >>> trees.
                              >>> >>
                              >>> >> what you say is true in the context of uniform second or third growth
                              >>> >> where
                              >>> >> the canopy is of the same eight and full . in that context any
                              >>> >> possibility
                              >>> >> of ladder fuel is agravating the situation helping propagate from ground
                              >>> >> to
                              >>> >> canopy
                              >>> >> mature trees in a first growth diverse forest present a canopy of
                              >>> >> variable
                              >>> >> height with important holes when big old trees fall. for the fire to
                              >>> >> spread
                              >>> >> it have to keep going up and down .
                              >> >
                              >> > What I said is true regardless of the age and biodiversity of the forest.
                              >> > Any forest with heavy fuel loads and/or substantial ladder fuels is a
                              >> > forest
                              >> > waiting for a catastrophic fire to turn it into a lunar landscape. Once a
                              >> > fire gets into the crowns of a forest (where a lot of the vegetation is)
                              >> > it
                              >> > can jump over large gaps in the vegetation. I saw one wildfire jump more
                              >> > than one hundred yards over a four-lane interstate, with very wide median
                              >> > and sides, without even slowing down. That is not unusual, especially if
                              >> > the
                              >> > fire is also wind-driven.
                              >
                              > a friend of mine who used to live in Malibu told me today his personal
                              > struggle to keep his house burning from a forest fire . he saw the fire
                              > jumping the whole canon from top to top . so my question is unless
                              > EVERYTHING is allready burned preventivelly how a fire of that force can
                              > spare any forest even when ladder fuels are burned in advance ? he still
                              > saved his house by keeping a small clearing around the house and a garden
                              > hose .
                              >
                              >> > You would lose that bet. They are done almost without exception to help
                              >> > prevent catastrophic wildfires that result when vegetation/fuel loads are
                              >> > allowed to grow too heavy. They are done in forests that have never been
                              >> > logged, forests that don't have any marketable timber on it, and urban
                              >> > forests in addition to forests that have marketable timber.
                              >
                              > when it is done around buildings i understand that it is the motivation ,
                              > but when not , who care if the forest burn if it is not the ones who don't
                              > want to loose the harvest of valuable wood .
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Native Americans
                              >> > also have a long history of burning off the undergrowth to improve
                              >> > wildlife
                              >> > habitat, and therefore hunting.
                              >
                              > see my comments in response to forest .to wich i want to add that primitive
                              > peoples could also have contribuated to the deserts . fire is a powerfull
                              > tool that require very wise hands . i am trusting more the natives wisdom
                              > than the scientific or specialist expertises.They probably learned from
                              > their own excesses thru traditions passed on generations after generations
                              > to the whole community , contrary to shortly aquired academic knowledge of
                              > few specialists.
                              >
                              > jean-claude
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
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                              > ardening+supply&w6=Organic+vegetable+gardening&c=6&s=160&.sig=owtJthOIVoli-5SH
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                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • diebrand
                              Paola, Sorry about my late reply. I live in a remote location without phone line and only access the Internet once a week. Many thanks for your advice. I
                              Message 14 of 25 , Nov 30, 2005
                                Paola,

                                Sorry about my late reply. I live in a remote location without
                                phone line and only access the Internet once a week.

                                Many thanks for your advice. I will try to contact the people you
                                mentioned.

                                > … I doubt I can be good enough at making very hot compost to be
                                sure I get rid of the risks of carrying the disease into the next
                                season (I'm a beginner anyway). …

                                Most germs are killed off at about 55 deg. C. I usually get there
                                in less than a week. It's not that difficult to do, all you need is
                                a thermometer. I build rows 1.50 m wide by 1.50 m tall and as long
                                as I like. If you have old compost to use with the new material you
                                can usually get usable material within 3 to 6 months. And if you
                                mix dry material with green stuff you don't need to worry about the
                                exact C/N ratio. At first I worried about using infected materials,
                                but now I use everything organic except crab grass, which I soak in
                                water for a while. Right now I'm trying to find a way between `heap
                                composting' and the `surface composting' used in Natural Farming,
                                since I'm not sure the latter is suitable for local climatic
                                conditions.

                                > … I guess that if we take the natural philosophy too strictly, we
                                have to come to the conclusion of letting the fungal diseases wipe
                                out the vegetables they feed on, and themselves as a consequence,
                                after many years the environment here will be clean of both, and
                                then better we go on with local species and forget about tomato and
                                potato. …

                                Most of the problems (fungus, pests, etc.) on our property are
                                because the land has been abandoned for many years. I think we
                                should not let ourselves be made paranoid by the idea that 'all that
                                goes wrong in the garden' is our own fault. It is more a matter of
                                learning by and by how to take care of the problems in an
                                intelligent way.

                                > … We are in the process of getting a national park established
                                here, … if you have texts (you quoted press articles) pointing out
                                to these situations, send them to me, because I'm in the phase of
                                giving feedback to the federal government here on the proposed law,
                                and overall project. …

                                We don't get too many newspapers in our nook of the woods. I was
                                referring to reports on the radio. If I can find something on the
                                net I will let you know. Off the cuff, I remember that wildfires in
                                the Serra da Arrabida (one of Portugal's more prestigious national
                                parks) stayed in the headlines during much of the Summer. I believe
                                the Serra da Estrela was also affected. Last year the Monchique,
                                much of which is under protection, was destroyed by wildfires.

                                Regards, Dieter
                              • diebrand
                                Larry, I couldn t agree more with what you said about wildfires. Especially the concept of `ladder fuels is very relevant to the fires we experience in
                                Message 15 of 25 , Nov 30, 2005
                                  Larry,

                                  I couldn't agree more with what you said about wildfires. Especially
                                  the concept of `ladder fuels' is very relevant to the fires we
                                  experience in Portugal. Many properties, abandoned for decades, are
                                  covered with an impenetrable mass of vegetation.

                                  You mentioned palmetto palm and other plants that burn easily. Is
                                  there a comprehensive list of plants that burn easily and those that
                                  don't?

                                  Regards, Dieter
                                • diebrand
                                  Jean-Claude, Sorry, if I misunderstood your previous message or if I did not comment on each and every one of your remarks. Right now I m more concerned with
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Nov 30, 2005
                                    Jean-Claude,

                                    Sorry, if I misunderstood your previous message or if I did not
                                    comment on each and every one of your remarks. Right now I'm more
                                    concerned with finding practical solutions rather than with the
                                    general idea of it.

                                    > … so you have lot means of learning about how nature does to
                                    revegetate the land after the fire bruned the bushes …

                                    What can be learned here is that the ashes from the fire favoured
                                    the growth of shrubs (genista, ulex europaeus, cistus, etc.), which
                                    prevented the trees (oaks, etc.) to grow again and which will
                                    invariably prepare the ground for the next wildfire in a few years
                                    time by providing plenty of combustible material.

                                    > … what is the life cycle of the arbutus ? how old are they? …

                                    I have no idea. Some are as wide as 10 to 15 meters and must be
                                    very old.

                                    > … you don't have to go all or nothing , between the arbutus and
                                    the oak there is possibly something else in the succession that will
                                    take over the arbutus and prepare the ground for the oak. …

                                    We have a mixed culture of arbutus and oaks. Both are ideal for
                                    this climate since they survive the drought in the summer and grow
                                    during the wet season. The problem starts when the arbutus isn't
                                    cut back for a long time because a property has been abandoned.
                                    Then it will take over and suppress all other vegetation. And I
                                    don't believe it will prepare the ground for anything but more
                                    arbutus.

                                    > … replacement of arbutus ( by the way the fruit are very tasty and
                                    would like to know if they can reproduce by cutting, …

                                    Sorry never tried to reproduce them. I have got too many as it is.
                                    Local farmers use the berries to make a bootlegged brandy, which
                                    isn't exactly my taste. We make preserves out of it (try
                                    quince/medronho preserve, one of my very own creations). The wood
                                    is very dense and ideal for heating.

                                    > … what about pomegrenate, figs and other mediteranean edible
                                    plants ( i bet figs thicket don't burn easelly .) …

                                    Oh, but they do. Except that it is far to dry for figs to
                                    flourish. Unlike the South of France were I have seen big fig trees
                                    with a lot of fruits even without irrigation, here they will only
                                    grow in the most favoured locations were they can get enough water.
                                    This climate really is very hard to understand for anyone who hasn't
                                    experience it at first hand.

                                    Dieter
                                  • partha biswas,9830511359
                                    dear dieter, May I know that,which place you are doing natural farming? Regards Partha biswas from India.. ... Partha Biswas, National Park, PO-Naihati,
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Nov 30, 2005
                                      dear dieter,

                                      May I know that,which place you are doing natural
                                      farming?

                                      Regards
                                      Partha biswas from India..

                                      --- diebrand <diebrand@...> wrote:

                                      > Paola,
                                      >
                                      > Sorry about my late reply. I live in a remote
                                      > location without
                                      > phone line and only access the Internet once a week.
                                      >
                                      > Many thanks for your advice. I will try to contact
                                      > the people you
                                      > mentioned.
                                      >
                                      > > … I doubt I can be good enough at making very hot
                                      > compost to be
                                      > sure I get rid of the risks of carrying the disease
                                      > into the next
                                      > season (I'm a beginner anyway). …
                                      >
                                      > Most germs are killed off at about 55 deg. C. I
                                      > usually get there
                                      > in less than a week. It's not that difficult to do,
                                      > all you need is
                                      > a thermometer. I build rows 1.50 m wide by 1.50 m
                                      > tall and as long
                                      > as I like. If you have old compost to use with the
                                      > new material you
                                      > can usually get usable material within 3 to 6
                                      > months. And if you
                                      > mix dry material with green stuff you don't need to
                                      > worry about the
                                      > exact C/N ratio. At first I worried about using
                                      > infected materials,
                                      > but now I use everything organic except crab grass,
                                      > which I soak in
                                      > water for a while. Right now I'm trying to find a
                                      > way between `heap
                                      > composting' and the `surface composting' used in
                                      > Natural Farming,
                                      > since I'm not sure the latter is suitable for local
                                      > climatic
                                      > conditions.
                                      >
                                      > > … I guess that if we take the natural philosophy
                                      > too strictly, we
                                      > have to come to the conclusion of letting the fungal
                                      > diseases wipe
                                      > out the vegetables they feed on, and themselves as a
                                      > consequence,
                                      > after many years the environment here will be clean
                                      > of both, and
                                      > then better we go on with local species and forget
                                      > about tomato and
                                      > potato. …
                                      >
                                      > Most of the problems (fungus, pests, etc.) on our
                                      > property are
                                      > because the land has been abandoned for many years.
                                      > I think we
                                      > should not let ourselves be made paranoid by the
                                      > idea that 'all that
                                      > goes wrong in the garden' is our own fault. It is
                                      > more a matter of
                                      > learning by and by how to take care of the problems
                                      > in an
                                      > intelligent way.
                                      >
                                      > > … We are in the process of getting a national park
                                      > established
                                      > here, … if you have texts (you quoted press
                                      > articles) pointing out
                                      > to these situations, send them to me, because I'm in
                                      > the phase of
                                      > giving feedback to the federal government here on
                                      > the proposed law,
                                      > and overall project. …
                                      >
                                      > We don't get too many newspapers in our nook of the
                                      > woods. I was
                                      > referring to reports on the radio. If I can find
                                      > something on the
                                      > net I will let you know. Off the cuff, I remember
                                      > that wildfires in
                                      > the Serra da Arrabida (one of Portugal's more
                                      > prestigious national
                                      > parks) stayed in the headlines during much of the
                                      > Summer. I believe
                                      > the Serra da Estrela was also affected. Last year
                                      > the Monchique,
                                      > much of which is under protection, was destroyed by
                                      > wildfires.
                                      >
                                      > Regards, Dieter
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >


                                      Partha Biswas, National Park, PO-Naihati, Dt.-N.24 Pargs,743165,Ph.-9830511359





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                                    • diebrand
                                      Partha, I live in the Alentejo region in the South of Portugal. It would be more correct to say that I m still trying to do Natural Farming, but haven t found
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Dec 2, 2005
                                        Partha,

                                        I live in the Alentejo region in the South of Portugal. It would be
                                        more correct to say that I'm still trying to do Natural Farming, but
                                        haven't found a way of adapting Fukuoka's method to the local
                                        climate yet.

                                        Dieter

                                        --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "partha biswas,9830511359"
                                        <kothae@y...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > dear dieter,
                                        >
                                        > May I know that,which place you are doing natural
                                        > farming?
                                        >
                                        > Regards
                                        > Partha biswas from India..
                                      • My Boy
                                        hi, Just wanted to make a quick point about a post you made last month. Phytophthora is the potato blight, originally, the one which caused the Irish famine.
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Dec 18, 2005
                                          hi,

                                          Just wanted to make a quick point about a post you
                                          made last month.

                                          Phytophthora is the potato blight, originally, the one
                                          which caused the
                                          Irish famine. And potato, like tomato, is NOT original
                                          from Europe.

                                          that is to say that the potato blight was not possible
                                          for the Irish famine.

                                          that's all.
                                          very interesting information and I agree with the
                                          points that you're making.
                                          I guess the only thing I might add to that is that, I
                                          think, it is almost impossible to treat diseases
                                          individually nothing all you can do is work are on
                                          developing your soil.
                                          Which basically means green manuring and mulching till
                                          you're blue in the face.

                                          All the best,
                                          Niels

                                          --- Paola Lucchesi <paola.lucchesi@...>
                                          wrote:


                                          ---------------------------------
                                          Dieter, perhaps you could try to contact Richard Wade,
                                          who has a
                                          permaculture centre in Spain.

                                          wade@...

                                          He's often in Italy, though, he's mentoring most of
                                          our Italian
                                          permaculturalists and teaching courses there, so
                                          insist if he doesn't answer
                                          at once. I might have his cellphone number too,
                                          somewhere, or I can ask
                                          common friends. There are also some web pages for
                                          their place (Permacultura
                                          Montsant) at http://www.permacultura-montsant.org/

                                          Richard and Ines should be able to give you specific
                                          advice on arid climates
                                          situations.

                                          And I've just remembered that Fortunato and Anna, who
                                          are among Emilia
                                          Hazelip's disciples, have worked in several projects
                                          in Spain. You can reach
                                          them at the address:

                                          kanbio@...


                                          I know what you mean about the difference between
                                          theory and practice, I am
                                          not getting very far with my tomato blight enquiries
                                          ;-) Also, specific
                                          local conditions are veeeery important. Originally, I
                                          am from a
                                          water-problematic region, not only for its
                                          Mediterrenean climate but also
                                          because of the carsic structure of the soil and
                                          underground, so I was
                                          sensitive to the water-conservation, e.g. keeping the
                                          soil moist, part of
                                          the story. But it backfired having moved to a very
                                          humid place. We are
                                          blessed by abundance of water here, a major river,
                                          plenty of streams and
                                          sources, frequent rains, overnight humudity... And a
                                          completely opposite set
                                          of problems: fungal disease above all. So I did
                                          mistakes like planting
                                          tomatoes too close, and found out too late that I
                                          didn't need to worry about
                                          dry soil, rather about infection spreading. I'm
                                          currently researching the
                                          question of spores surviving the winter and I'm
                                          desperate about all the
                                          biomass laying around (falling leaves), which is
                                          infected by all sorts of
                                          fungi and moulds. Some I can identify, of others I'm
                                          not sure, and I doubt I
                                          can be good enough at making very hot compost to be
                                          sure I get rid of the
                                          risks of carrying the disease into the next season
                                          (I'm a beginner anyway).

                                          Now, very probably something is out of balance here,
                                          in the sense that there
                                          should not be so much of this type of disease. I
                                          observe the difference
                                          between the wild and the "domesticated" plants, the
                                          wild being usually
                                          healthy close to the infected domesticated. But now,
                                          the wild plants have
                                          taken it up too, and this is quite worrying. I
                                          mentioned the broadleaf dock
                                          and dandelion, but even some stinging nettle has been
                                          involved! It's sort of
                                          scary. To say nothing of all the trees around. There
                                          are some beautiful
                                          apples and peer trees around the garden here (planted
                                          by my landlords years
                                          ago), and they are all sick, and scattering around
                                          masses of sick leaves.
                                          Hmmm, even if I wanted to do something about it,
                                          there's no question of
                                          spraying any helping preparations (we have planty of
                                          horsetail around, which
                                          could help) on those giants, too tall, too many
                                          branches... And we are in a
                                          context of small houses with gardens, all around, so
                                          spores can easily
                                          travel from one patch to the other, it's really a
                                          community issue.

                                          Phytophthora is the potato blight, originally, the one
                                          which caused the
                                          Irish famine. And potato, like tomato, is NOT original
                                          from Europe. So I
                                          guess the true root of the problem is that we are
                                          dealing with imported
                                          species which were never really meant for this
                                          climate, nor is the
                                          environment here "programmed" to deal with their
                                          pathologies and reestablish
                                          a balance by itself, so the original imbalance is many
                                          centuries old, but it
                                          becomes apparent now, when these cultures have spread
                                          to wide extensions.

                                          I guess that if we take the natural philosophy too
                                          strictly, we have to come
                                          to the conclusion of letting the fungal diseases wipe
                                          out the vegetables
                                          they feed on, and themselves as a consequence, after
                                          many years the
                                          environment here will be clean of both, and then
                                          better we go on with local
                                          species and forget about tomato and potato.

                                          OR we stay aware that we are forcing Mother Nature's
                                          hand a little bit and
                                          try to find some acceptable and workable compromise.

                                          We are in the process of getting a national park
                                          established here, and I
                                          understand Dieter's point perfectly and have similar
                                          worries for a series of
                                          areas which are actually inhabited (or were before the
                                          war - we are in
                                          Bosnia), so there has been agriculture and cattle
                                          breeding there for
                                          centuries. The guys who did the feasibility study seem
                                          to have been very
                                          superficial on that, didn't really explore the area
                                          thoroughly, which is a
                                          returnee's area with people slowly going back to their
                                          villages. There are
                                          ideas of a "zero area" (total protection, everything
                                          forbidden) to be
                                          established were it really shouldn't be, since it's
                                          not total wilderness but
                                          a mixed ecosystem, of which humans have been a part
                                          for a long time.

                                          So please, Dieter, if you have texts (you quoted press
                                          articles) pointing
                                          out to these situations, send them to me, because I'm
                                          in the phase of giving
                                          feedback to the federal government here on the
                                          proposed law, and overall
                                          project.

                                          paola



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